(ORDO NEWS) — Researchers at Tongji University in Shanghai have created a liquid material that can be cut or molded into various shapes. In structure, it is somewhat reminiscent of gelatin, but stronger, but in fact it is just water covered with a nanolayer of hydrophobic material.
The researchers expanded on previous methods of using hydrophobic substances to create stable water beads and waterproof fabrics. By drying a silica-based gel on glass surfaces, the scientists were able to obtain a layer of silicon particles only 20 nanometers thick.
Water droplets on this surface are covered with a single layer of silicon particles, which led the main researcher Caogang Li to say that in fact they received a monolayer, or a layer one molecule thick. Therefore, the material remains transparent, unlike other liquid droplets, which remain cloudy due to the hydrophobic material.
The new material was called “liquid plasticine”. When moved with hydrophobic tools, the material retains its shape, but two drops can easily merge together, like ordinary water drops.
Liquid plasticine can be used for liquid magnifying glasses. The team also found that the chemicals added to this material spread more slowly than in a normal liquid, slowing down the process of chemical reactions as a result.
Thus, this material can be used as miniature test tubes, where, due to its transparency, all chemical reactions will be extremely easy to observe.
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